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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |The Severan Period| ▸ |Elagabalus||View Options:  |  |  |   

Elagabalus, 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D.

Elagabalus came to power through the scheming of his grandmother Julia Maesa. Elagabalus repeatedly shocked the population with increasingly bizarre behavior including cross-dressing and marrying a vestal virgin. Eventually, his grandmother replaced him on the throne with Severus Alexander, and Elagabalus and his mother were murdered, dragged through the streets of Rome, and dumped into the Tiber.


Elagabalus, 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D., Philippopolis, Thrace

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Nomos described this coin as, "An extraordinary piece, especially with remains of its original silver plating. Some marks from cleaning, otherwise, about extremely fine."
SH85458. Bronze medallion, okatassarion or quinarius; SNG Cop 784; Varbanov III 1721 (R8); Mionnet I, p. 419, 358 (R6); Mouchmov 5428 (all same dies), aEF, cleaning marks, areas of light corrosion, weight 38.718 g, maximum diameter 40.8 mm, die axis 15o, Philippopolis mint, 218 - 222 A.D.; obverse AYT K M AYPΛ ANTΩNEINOC CEB, laureate, draped, and cuirassed three-quarter length bust of Elagabalus left; reverse MHTPOΠOΛEΩC ΦIΛIΠΠOΠOΛEΩC NEΩ KOPOY, youthful Herakles standing left, nude but for lion's skin draped around his left forearm, resting his right hand on the handle of a club set on the ground and holding an apple in his left hand; big 40.8mm bronze!, ex Nomos AG, auction 10 (18 May 2015), lot 115 (realized approximately $4686 including buyers fee); extremely rare; SOLD


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This type commemorated the departure of Elagabalus from Antioch to Rome together with the sacred stone of his cult (probably a meteorite). At each summer solstice Elagabalus celebrated a great festival during which he paraded the holy stone through the city of Rome. Herodian described the spectacle: "A six horse chariot carried the divinity, the horses huge and flawlessly white, with expensive gold fittings and rich ornaments. No one held the reins, and no one rode in the chariot; the vehicle was escorted as if the god himself were the charioteer. Elagabalus ran backward in front of the chariot, facing the god and holding the horses' reins. He made the whole journey in this reverse fashion, looking up into the face of his god.
RS34938. Silver denarius, BMCRE V 284, RSC III 268, RIC IV 195, SRCV II 7545, Choice gVF, weight 2.655 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 16 May 218 - 219 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS FEL AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse SANCT DEO SOLI ELAGABAL (ELAGABAL in exergue, "to the holy god, the sun Elagabal"), slow quadriga right, carrying the conical Stone of Elah-Gabal ornamented on the front with an eagle and surrounded by four parasols; very rare; SOLD


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The ruins of Antioch on the Orontes lie near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey. Founded near the end of the 4th century B.C. by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch's geographic, military and economic location, particularly the spice trade, the Silk Road, the Persian Royal Road, benefited its occupants, and eventually it rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the Near East and as the main center of Hellenistic Judaism at the end of the Second Temple period. Antioch is called "the cradle of Christianity," for the pivotal early role it played in the emergence of the faith. It was one of the four cities of the Syrian tetrapolis. Its residents are known as Antiochenes. Once a great metropolis of half a million people, it declined to insignificance during the Middle Ages because of warfare, repeated earthquakes and a change in trade routes following the Mongol conquests, which then no longer passed through Antioch from the far east.6th Century Antioch
SH33430. Silver denarius, BMCRE V277 - 278 var. (obverse legend), RSC III 27 ff. var. (same), RIC IV 188 var. (same), EF, weight 3.381 g, maximum diameter 18.2 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, obverse ANTONINVS PIVS FELIX AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse FELICITAS TEMP, galley with sail right, containing eight rowers and pilot holding rudder, acrostolium and standard at stern, sail or standard at prow; the finest example of the type FORVM has seen and a rare obverse variety (full spelling for FELIX instead of FEL); SOLD


Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, October 49 - 15 March 44 B.C.

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Minted after his invasion of Italy and crossing of the Rubicon on 10 January 49 B.C. until his defeat of Pompey at Pharsalus, this was the first coin type issued in Caesar's name. The elephant was the symbol of the Caesar family. According to legend, an ancestor received the name Caesar after single-handedly killing an elephant, probably in North Africa during the first Punic War, and "Caesai" was the name for elephant in the local Punic language. The obverse was long described as an elephant trampling a snake, symbolizing good triumphing over evil. For the Romans, however, the snake was a symbol of healing, not evil. The image to the right (click it to see a larger photo) is ornamentation on the side of the Gundestrup cauldron (c. 150 - 1 B.C.) depicting three Celtic warriors sounding their carnyx war trumpets. Clearly, Caesar's elephant is trampling a carnyx and the obverse symbolizes Caesar's victory over the Celtic tribes of Gaul. The reverse refers to Caesar's office of Pontifex Maximus, the high priest of Rome, a title now held by the Pope.Persian Empire
SH91682. Silver denarius, Crawford 443/1, Sydenham 1006, RSC I 49, Sear CRI 9, BMCRR Gaul 27, Russo RBW 1557, SRCV I 1399, Choice VF, well centered and struck on a broad flan, attractive old cabinet toning, weight 3.732 g, maximum diameter 20.2 mm, die axis 45o, military mint, traveling with Caesar, 49 B.C.; obverse elephant walking right trampling on a carnyx (a Celtic war trumpet) ornamented to look like a dragon, CAESAR below; reverse implements of the pontificate: culullus (cup) or simpulum (ladle), aspergillum (sprinkler), securis (sacrificial ax), and apex (priest's hat); from the Maxwell Hunt Collection, Hesperia Art; SOLD


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Rare type (with an unlisted obverse legend) commemorating the departure of Elagabalus from Antioch to Rome together with the sacred stone of his cult (probably a meteorite).
RS33437. Silver denarius, RSC III 266 var. (Rome mint, draped bust), RIC IV 144 var. (same), VF, weight 3.097 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 219 A.D.; obverse IMP ANTONINVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse SANCT DEO SOLI ELAGABAL, slow triumphal quadriga right carrying the Emesa stone decorated with eagle and surrounded by four parasols; very rare; SOLD


Elagabalus, 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D., Joppa, Judaea

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Roman imperial coins were struck at Joppa only during the reigns of Elagabalus and Severus Alexander.
JD11658. Bronze AE 18, Hendin 873 var. (bust drapped & obv legend), F, weight 7.710 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 0o, Joppa mint, obverse AYK C A[ (or similar), laureate bust right; reverse ΦΛA − IOΠΠHC (Flavia Joppe), Athena standing right wearing helmet and long chiton, inverted spear in right hand, left hand on grounded shield; attractive example for the type; very rare; SOLD


Kingdom of Bosporus, Rheskuporis II, 211 - 228 A.D.

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Bosporus retained semi-independent status under this line of kings until the 4th century A.D. Some references list this ruler as Rheskuporis III.
SH08302. Electrum stater, Anokhin 635d, Frolova pl. XLVII, 11, SGICV 5483 var, Choice VF, weight 7.35 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 0o, 218 - 219 A.D.; obverse BACIΛEωOC PHCKOYΠOPI∆OC, laureate draped and cuirassed bust right holding trident; reverse laureate draped bust of Elagabalus seen from behind, date EIΦ (= Era of Bosphoros year 515 = 218/219 A.D.); nicely toned, full circle of dots on both obverse and reverse; SOLD


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This galley type was likely issued to announce Elagabalus' travel to Rome from Syria, and the happy times his rule would bring.
RS68920. Silver denarius, RSC III 27a, BMCRE V 277, Hunter III 113, RIC IV 188 (S), SRCV II 7510, gVF, light toning, weight 2.957 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 218 - 219 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS FEL AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse FELICITAS TEMP, galley right, eight rowers and pilot holding rudder, acrostolium at stern, vexillum at center, sail(?) furled at prow, waves below; scarce; SOLD


Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, October 49 - 15 March 44 B.C.

Click for a larger photo
Minted after his invasion of Italy and crossing of the Rubicon on 10 January 49 B.C. until his defeat of Pompey at Pharsalus, this was the first coin type issued in Caesar's name. The elephant was the symbol of the Caesar family. According to legend, an ancestor received the name Caesar after single-handedly killing an elephant, probably in North Africa during the first Punic War, and "Caesai" was the name for elephant in the local Punic language. The obverse was long described as an elephant trampling a snake, symbolizing good triumphing over evil. For the Romans, however, the snake was a symbol of healing, not evil. The image to the right (click it to see a larger photo) is ornamentation on the side of the Gundestrup cauldron (c. 150 - 1 B.C.) depicting three Celtic warriors sounding their carnyx war trumpets. Clearly, Caesar's elephant is trampling a carnyx and the obverse symbolizes Caesar's victory over the Celtic tribes of Gaul. The reverse refers to Caesar's office of Pontifex Maximus, the high priest of Rome, a title now held by the Pope.Persian Empire
RS92156. Silver denarius, Crawford 443/1, Sydenham 1006, RSC I 49, Sear CRI 9, BMCRR Gaul 27, Russo RBW 1557, SRCV I 1399, F, toned, light bumps and marks, reverse a little off center, weight 3.570 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 180o, military mint, traveling with Caesar, 49 B.C.; obverse elephant walking right trampling on a carnyx (Celtic war trumpet) ornamented to look like a dragon, CAESAR below; reverse implements of the pontificate: culullus (cup) or simpulum (ladle), aspergillum (sprinkler), securis (sacrificial ax), and apex (priest's hat); SOLD


Elagabalus, 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D., Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior

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Asclepius learned the secrets of healing after seeing one snake bring another herbs. Woman seeking fertility, and the sick and injured, slept in his temples where snakes were left to crawl on the floor and provide healing. Nearby excavations found 2nd c. bronze surgical instruments and a case containing a variety of medicines.
RP29741. Bronze AE 26, Varbanov I 3978a, EF, superb portrait, upper reverse flat, weight 11.319 g, maximum diameter 26.1 mm, die axis 180o, Nicopolis ad Istrum (Nikyup, Bulgaria) mint, cos. legate Ti. Flavius Novius Rufus, 218 - 222; obverse AVT K AVPH ANTΩNEINOC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse YΠ NOBIOY POYΦOY NIKOΠOΛITΩN ΠΠOC ICTPON, Asklepios standing facing, head left, resting right hand on snake-entwined staff, left hand on hip; SOLD




  




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OBVERSE| LEGENDS|

ANTONINVSFELPIVSAVG
ANTONINVSPFELAVG ANTONINVSPIVSAVG
ANTONINVSPIVSFEL
ANTONINVSPIVSFELAVG (ALSO USED BY CARACALLA)
IMPANTONINVSAVG
IMPANTONINVSPIVSAVG
IMPANTONINVSPIVSFELIX
IMPANTONINVSPIVSFELIXAVG
IMPCAESANTONINVSAVG
IMPCAESMAVRANTONINVSAVG
IMPCAESMAVRANTONINVSPFAVG
IMPCAESMAVRANTONINVSPIVSAVG
IMPCAESMAVRSEANTONINVSAVG
IMPCMAVRANTONINVSPFAVG
IMP M AVR ANTONIN PIVS AVG


REFERENCES|

Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Caliců, E. The Roman Avrei, Vol. I: From the Republic to Pertinax, 196 BC - 193 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappťes sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 4, Septimius Severus to Maximinus Thrax. (Paris, 1884).
Mattingly, H., E. Sydenham & C. Sutherland. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol. IV: From Pertinax to Uranius Antoninus. (London, 1986).
Mattingly, H. & R. Carson. Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum, Vol. 5: Pertinax to Elagabalus. (London, 1950).
Online Coins of the Roman Empire (OCRE) http://numismatics.org/ocre/
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. III, Pertinax to Aemilian. (Oxford, 1977).
Seaby, H. & Sear, D. Roman Silver Coins, Vol. III, Pertinax to Balbinus and Pupienus. (London, 1982).
Sear, D. Roman Coins and Their Values, Vol. II: The Accession of Nerva to the Overthrow of the Severan Dynasty AD 96 - AD 235. (London, 2002).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Wednesday, December 11, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Elagabalus